If you didn't think the Washington Post coverage of the Occupy D.C. protests jumped the shark with the Sunday paper's coverage of Occupy lust at first blight, maybe Petula Dvorak's online column "Occupy squalor: the ultimate test for helicopter parents," will do the trick.
"Occuparenting isn’t easy," Dvorak began. "Your precious children? The ones who had violin lessons and SAT tutors and years of orthodontia and organic lunches?" They're now "sleeping under tarps, in the mud, rain and frigid temperatures, in an encampment that is home to an epic urban rat infestation."
But Dvorak didn't paint this portrait of voluntary deprivation -- and depravity -- as a problem. To the contrary, it seems as though the Post columnist sees the willingness of leftist 20-somethings to live this way in service of an incoherent cause as a rebuke to the mollycoddling of bourgeois parenting:
Take that, helicopter parents.
These are the mothers and fathers who demanded laws for bike helmets, car seats and warning labels on every plastic bag and bucket in the universe. They had the home number of every teacher from preschool to college. And they’ve even been known to call up their grown kids’ new bosses after junior didn’t get a promotion.
But what happens when these highly groomed offspring go off and join the hundreds living in the Occupy movements camps? To whom do you file a complaint? Who gets the irate phone call?
[N]ow the Occuparents find themselves struggling with whether to support their child’s participation in a sweeping, political protest movement and the fact that their cul-de-sac kids are living in total squalor.
It's ironic, perhaps, because helicopter parenting and the prolonged adolescence it engenders are fundamentally un-conservative, if not arguably downright liberal. Helicopter parenting undercuts the development of personal responsibility that must accompany personal freedom.
After all, one of the supposedly most popular features of ObamaCare is a provision that allows young adults to remain on their parents health insurance to age 26, a sop to the youth vote and to helicopter parents.
Of course, Dvorak added:
...there are some protesters whose parents are closing the door on them over their participation in the Occupy movement. One said his folks made it clear he doesn’t have a home to come back to. Or there are guys like Chris, 18, who left his home in Maine “pretty much because of my dad.”
But for the most part, Occuparents aren’t philosophically opposed to protesting. It’s not the pearl-clutching that the hippies’ parents did in the 1960s.
But it’s just so, ick, out there.
Fitting. "Ick" just about describes how we feel reading the Post's Occupy coverage.